In Finland, the honorary title of Academician is the highest scientific recognition, awarded by the President of the Republic. Only 12 living Finnish scientists can hold this title at the same time.
The first woman Academician, Research professor Pirjo Mäkelä (medicine) was awarded as late as 2003.
Peltonen-Palotie has played a pioneering role in the study of the genetic and biochemical basis of human disease. Academician Anna-Leena Siikala has studied the religious customs of aboriginal populations in northern Eurasia, shamanism, mythical and historical interpretations of Kalevala-metre poems as well as methods of researching oral tradition.
She has also studied how an ethnic minority group uses its mythology and tradition in seeking to revive and maintain its own language and way of life under the dominance of mainstream culture.
Read Peltonen-Palotie’s interview on the Academy of Finland website, here